In between hammering away on the J Class kits, I regulalry meet up with some other 'proto' modellers that reside in and around Vancouver. We've had quite a few sessions at my place, with Andrew being the most regular attendee (cheers, mate).
We've made some steady progress on my layout, Sutton Grange, which is now in it's third version (previous baseboards construction has just not been up to scratch).
I ordered some sleeper from Kappler Scale Lumber, located just over the boarder in Washington State, USA. Kapler offer a 'bespoke' service, which I took them up on and ordered several thousand standard and longer switch ties/sleepers, all to correct VR scale dimensions. Erik, at Kappler did a great job!
As far as I'm concerned, track work is also a model. So when it comes to matters of weathering and ballasting of track, I can spend hours reviewing prototype photos and modelling approaches to faithfully portray real track - actually, real VR track. Anal? Absolutely.
However, I recently came a cross a blog site by USA-based Proto48 modeller, Jim Lincoln. Jim's blog, The Delaware Lackawanna in Proto48, is well worth a look. Indeed, it was this post and this one that caught my eye.
Following some of Jim's tips and ideas, sleepers/ties were laid, distressed with a Dremal stainless steel brush, and weathered using cheap thinned acrylic paints to achieve a brown, blood-red colour so often observed on VR track from the 1960's and 1970's. Colours include burnt umber, burnt sienna, raw umber etc, while white chinagraph pencils were used to give a hint of grey weathering here and there (followed by more thinned paints to tone it down). After adding some ME code 55 track, it's starting to look the part. (Note that the track hardware is yet to be installed.)
Next, how to portray 'typical' VR branch line ballast...